Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s soccer uses stifling defense to shutout Duquesne 2-0

Strong defensive play, goalkeeping lead to yet another shutout

Caroline O'Connor

Caroline O'Connor

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With its fourth shutout in five games, the Massachusetts women’s soccer team took down Duquesne by a score of 2-0 on Thursday afternoon.

UMass (6-2-0) limited the Dukes (4-4-0) to a total of six shots on goal, all of which were handled by senior goalkeeper Peyton Ryan.

“We’ve got a great goalkeeper in Peyton Ryan,” said head coach Jason Dowiak after the game. “She positions herself well to prevent the chances when we do let them slip through [the defense].”

In front of Ryan were defenders Dani Sclafani and Jenna Thomas, who each contributed over 80 minutes on defense.

“Their intellect in how to defend and how to position themselves is awesome for me because we give them ideas and they put it into action right away,” Dowiak said.

Duquesne did have their chances, generating six corner kicks, but the Minutewomen defense was up to the task.

Thomas played a big role in holding down Duquesne. Whenever the ball came onto the Minutewomen’s side of the field, Thomas was there to support the midfielders and clear the ball in front of Ryan on corners.

“We had to stay connected and make sure if I went with someone that they tucked in behind me. It was about communicating and going with our marks,” said Thomas.

When asked about what needs to continue on defense to keep momentum as conference play heats up, Thomas added, “Really just the hard work. We play three back so we have to stay tight. We all have to slide together and step up.”

The Minutewomen got on the board in the 29th minute when sophomore midfielder Signe Schioldan crossed the ball across the box to Fatou Barry. Barry took a shot from the right side of the box that was deflected by the goalie before freshman forward Lauren Bonavita tapped it into the net to give the Minutewomen a 1-0 advantage.

That was more than enough for the UMass defense, which grew stronger as the game went on. In the second half, the Minutewomen allowed just one corner kick and only four shots.

“Our three in the back are working really well,” Hipp said. “We switch around a lot but I think everyone who plays defense shows 100% commitment. They’re total freaks, they jump into every ball and I think you need those people behind you to play so well defensively.”

The Minutewomen will be hunting for their sixth win in a row when they continue A-10 play and head to Rhode Island to take on the Rams this Sunday afternoon.

Ethan Nash can be reached at [email protected]

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